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Have an erratic schedule that prevents you from meeting regularly with a critique group? Having trouble finding writers specifically in your genre? Live in an area that’s too rural to meet other writers? Is your only time to work at 1 a.m. when the kids/spouse are in bed? (Hey, Benadryl works great on both).
Then online critique groups might be for you. The following websites offer critiques for writers. Websites marked with an asterisk are on Writers Digest list of 101 Best Websites for Writers. They work in various ways, so read the fine print before picking your group.
Critiquecircle.com – This popular critique site makes you pay with critiques to play. You critique to gain enough credits to submit your work for comments from others. The more you critique, the more of your own work you can submit.
Pros – Your story can be critiqued by an unlimited number of people while it’s posted on the site. Members must sign in to view submissions, so it isn’t considered “published” and you can back track to anyone who viewed your work – so it would be stupid to steal from you. They also show you sample critiques and most people are friendly and helpful.
You can also submit your work by category – so people who like romance will be critiquing your submission, not people who feel obligated because they are in your critique group. Categories include: newbies, thriller/mystery/suspense, romance/women’s fiction/chicklit, science fiction/fantasy/horror, children/young adult, and general.
Cons – it can take a long time to get your story put online for critique. It’s done on a first come, first served basis. So you may wait two weeks or more before your story is critiqued. But you can form your own critique groups and ask others to join after you learn how it works. There is a small additional fee, though, for the privilege.
Critters Workshop, Critters.org – This group is for writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. This is another situation were you must critique unto others for the critiques to come unto you. If you can do about one critique per week, you should have enough credit to get your submission critiqued.
Pros – They have a special feature that lets you get a whole novel critiqued. You post a request for dedicated readers, and those who respond commit to giving you feedback on your whole novel. Those who sign up to help you get double the credits they would per word for a normal critique.
Cons – It still takes about a month to get something in line to be critiqued, and they only allow science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
*Critique Groups for Writers - critiquegroups.com/
Here you form your own critique group with other writers on the site.
According to Writers Digest, “Head over to Edit Red for peer critiques, publishing tips and opportunities to promote your writing and connect with publishers. The site offers a free personal webpage, and promotion and marketing tools.”
*Mike’s Writing Workshop http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mikeswritingworkshop
*My Writers Circle – mywriterscircle.com
*The MuseItUp Club Critique Group - museitupclub.tripod.com
They limit critique groups to five writers maximum, but set up multiple groups.
*The Internet Writing Workshop internetwritingworkshop.org/
Create Your Own Online Group – Gather up a group of like-minded critiquers and create a schedule. Email submissions to each other on a certain day and require a response. So everyone might email their submission on Monday and critiques could be due the following Monday – or longer if you want to critique longer selections and you have busy schedules.
Tomorrow I'll post some tips specific to online critiquing.